Scandal-ridden president Donald Trump lost another round in federal court in Maryland Wednesday when U.S. District Judge Peter J. Messitte decided to let a lawsuit saying America’s leader continues to violate the Constitution by profiting in business dealings with foreign governments.
Messitte became the first federal judge to apply the emoluments clauses of the Constitution to a sitting president and marks yet another case where Trump is charged with violating the law.
To make matters worse for Trump, the ruling stands to bring “unprecedented scrutiny” into his business and personal matters, including the possibility that the tax returns that he refused to release could become public record.
“This includes profits from private institutions, even those involving services given at fair market value,” Messitte said in his ruling.
The judge says the Constitution’s ban on “emoluments” applies to Trump because it covers any and all business transactions with foreign governments where the president gets “a profit, gain or percentage.”
Unlike other presidents, Trump has refused to give up ownership of his businesses, including his ownership of the Trump International Hotel in Washington where foreign governments pay lavish rates for lodging, entertainment, dinners and events.
“We are one step closer to stopping president Trump from violating the Constitution’s original anti-corruption provisions,” said District of Columbia attorney general Karl A. Racine, who joined with Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh in suing Trump.
“I think the decision bodes ill for his ownership of the old Post Office hotel,” which is the Trump International Hotel.
The lawsuit is just one of several filings against Trump as attempts to pry into his business and legal dealings.
The New York Attorney General charges Trump and his family of “persistently illegal conduct” in using the Donald J. Trump foundation to pay personal and business expenses for Trump.
Trump, as he usually does when he loses, plans an appeal.
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